COMMITTEE SHOULD TAKE HARD LOOK AT PROJECT


Editorial
The Eagle
November 29, 2007

During the most recent campaign, there was plenty of talk about the future development and redevelopment of Cranford.

While Marcia Garcia and Mark Smith do not take office until January, the first test of the post-election development will come from the Riverfront development.

The proposal features five buildings, three to four stories tall, including a 300-space parking garage, 149 rental units, 15 townhouses and 12,000 square feet of retail space.

Before it goes to the planning or zoning board, the S. Hekemian Group, the developers, will need to get the blessing from the Township Committee.

Before the first public viewing of the proposal that occurred last night after press deadline, committee members were already skeptical about the proposal, be it the Republican majority or the Democrats who are in their final days on the committee.

Republican Committeeman David Robinson is worried about the ratio of the housing element compared to the retail element of the development.

George Jorn, a Democratic committeeman, said that he is also concerned about the housing units of the project.

Deputy Mayor Robert Puhak does point to the pluses of the development including a public park that will be included in the project and development for an area that is run down.

Puhak though is skeptical about the developer’s claim that they can not decrease the number of rental units in the project and is asking for a third-party to verify those claims.

An important aspect will be the marketing study, funded by the developer with the township picking the study’s firm.

Even if the study gives a thumbs up to the project, the Township Committee should take a sterner eye to the proposal than the marketing company. The impact of this project on the township is on their shoulders.